These weren’t JUST particularly spectacular cookies.
Yes, being Chocolate Coconut Espresso Cookies, they were destined to be delicious, and when I swapped out the chocolate chips for cappuccino chips they went all the way to sublime. But these were special cookies — not in an afterschool special kind of way — because I made them for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, a yearly fundraiser for pediatric cancer research that in addition to raising money for an excellent cause, unites food bloggers across the web and resulted in me getting cookies in the mail. What’s better than getting cookies in the mail?
In a nutshell, you sign up, and put in your fee, which goes towards the cause and gets matched by corporate sponsors. Then you bake delicious cookies. You ship a dozen each to three different food bloggers that you’ve been matched up with, and everyone blogs their recipe on the same day.
And cookies come to you, too! It’s amazing!
The first to arrive were the mouthwateringly delicious Soft Gingersnap Cookies with White Chocolate Chips, courtesy of Dawn at Butter and Sprinkles. She included the recipe, which was so sweet of her! (Made me wish I’d thought to do the same.)
Then we got some wonderful but unlabelled cookies from Julie in Salt Lake City, Utah. Julie — what are they? What is your blog? They’re so sweet they’re like candy! Big hit around here.
And the last shipment came in after that, these wonderful Tropical White Chocolate Chip Cookies, made with coconut, macadamia nuts, and dried pineapple, from Brandie at Home Cooking Memories.
Thanks so much Dawn, Julie, and Brandie! You made all four of us here very happy.
And on my part, I had a lot of fun making my cookies, and I also got to do a test run before the “real” ones got made. Nobody in my house objected to being a taste-tester, which was helpful. I could be wrong, but it might have had something to do with the fact that this recipe started with melting butter and chocolate together on the stove.
I know, I skipped ahead. It’s just that so much of what I make has neither chocolate nor butter in it, and it’s a pretty magnificent sight.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before there was melted chocolate, there was a countertop full of ingredients. I wanted these cookies to be special so I used some interesting, homemade “batch-churned” butter, bittersweet Ghiradelli chocolate, and a slew of supplies ordered from my much-revered King Arthur Flour Company, including espresso powder, vanilla bean paste, and cappuccino chips.
I had a lot of fun with the chocolate. When I unwrapped it, I felt like Charlie Bucket with his Wonka bar, smelling that smell and then seeing that flash of gold.
I opened up the second bar, and chopped for a while.
I wish I could properly convey the smell and the sweet satisfaction one gets from chopping chocolate. It’s exquisite.
And that’s when I got to that delectable chocolate and butter combination I was talking about earlier. I melted them together, in a makeshift double boiler.
Oh, and you know what another benefit is of doing The Great Food Blogger Cookie Exchange? The companies that support it send you stuff. I got these three gorgeous heat-resistant spatulas from Oxo and put them to use immediately.
I reluctantly set that aside to cool, instead of just pouring it into my piehole.
I used whole wheat white flour for these cookies. The recipe only called for 1/3 of a cup, so I had to forego my usual wheat germ swap in the name of cookie perfection. I whisked the flour in with some baking powder and salt.
And then, because I hadn’t used enough bowls yet, I put some eggs, brown sugar, vanilla bean paste, and espresso powder into the stand mixer bowl and put it to work.
The recipe said,
…beat until batter is light and fluffy and falls from the paddle (or beaters) in a thick ribbon, about 5 minutes.
So I beat, and beat, and beat, watching things go from dark to light and waiting for that magical ribbon to appear.
Ribbon! Is that a ribbon? Even as it got thinner, it still looked like a ribbon.
I declared it a ribbon and added the now-cooled chocolate & butter mixture. I started getting that Willy Wonka feeling again once the paddle started to move.
I spilled some.
Since spilling is pretty much the norm in my kitchen, I took it as a sign that things were going well. I removed the bowl from the mixer and folded in the flour mixture.
And the cappuccino chips.
And then, because chocolate + butter + cappuccino chips isn’t QUITE delicious enough, I added the shredded coconut.
A magnificent batter had been created. Resisting my urge to start working with it, I covered it with plastic wrap and gave it an hour in the fridge. I used that hour to chop the chocolate for the second batch, and wash all the dishes I’d be needing again. (Yes, instead of doubling everything, I made two batches, not wanting to risk any proportional mishaps.)
Once the dough was ready, I used a cookie scoop and my own two hands to roll it into balls.
It was a gooey process.
I put the first tray into the oven. The whole kitchen started to smell wonderful and chocolatey, like — dare I say it again? — Willy Wonka’s factory, with a shot of espresso.
Unfortunately, I overbaked the first batch. The bottoms got burnt.
It wasn’t a soggy bottom, which they warn against to excess on The Great British Bake-Off, but it was a burnt bottom, which sounds a lot more painful.
I took the next batch out a little earlier.
And from then on, it was just a parade of delicious cookies.
(And the burnt ones actually tasted good the next day, to the delight of my cookie-slighted family who had to stand by while I boxed these up and shipped them off.)
Bottom line, this recipe is amazing. Deep rich chocolate boosted by the espresso, crunchy coconut, and cappuccino, all in one chewy little cookie with an almost brownie-like texture, but not so brownie-like that you don’t feel like you’re eating a cookie. Well, cookies. It’s hard to eat just one.
This one’s from my practice batch, which everybody DID get to eat, but was made with chocolate chips. They didn’t suffer for it, I assure you.
And that, my friends, was my very first Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. They raised $13,778.40, and everybody got cookies! And spatulas from Oxo! And a lovely cookie/muffin tin from Imperial Sugar. We raised money for a truly worthy cause, and had a good time doing it, plus I got introduced to a whole bunch of new blogs by both giving and receiving all the cookies. I am definitely doing this again next year.
CHOCOLATE COCONUT ESPRESSO COOKIES RECIPE (original)
My version of Chocolate Coconut Espresso Cookies with Cappuccino Chips (adapted from Fork vs. Spoon)
(makes 2-3 dozen depending on cookie size)
6 ounces Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate, roughly (but lovingly) chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole wheat white flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
1 cup (scant) brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 (generous) teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup cappuccino chips
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Using a double boiler (or some semblance of one that you rig together out of whatever you have on hand), melt the chocolate and butter together until they form an almost irresistible melty chocolate fantasy. If it looks like something you’ve dreamed about, you’ve got it right. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, espresso powder, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until batter is lighter in color and fluffy and falls from the battle (or beaters) in a thick ribbon. This will take a while, maybe five full minutes.
Add in the cooled chocolate, and beat on low, just until combined. Remove bowl from the mixer.
By hand, fold in the flour, then the cappuccino chips, and then the coconut, stopping once everything is incorporated.
Chill the batter in the fridge for about an hour.
When you’re ready, heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop to ensure reasonably uniform size, scoop up the dough and roll into balls, then place about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. They’ll spread some.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until a little push in from the edge indicates that they aren’t dough-like anymore. Don’t overbake them!
Give them another five minutes on the sheets before moving to a wire rack.